Cesare Prandelli's men have become the latest country to qualify for next year's European Championship, after a late tactical change culminated in grabbing the all-important winnerItaly have qualified for Euro 2012 after a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Slovenia in Florence, thanks to substitute Giampaolo Pazzini's late finish.
The hosts had the majority of possession throughout the match, but had nothing to show for their efforts despite several goalscoring chances created mainly by Antonio Cassano, who displayed occasional moments of magic in the first half.
Giuseppe Rossi had a chance within the first minute, but could only manage to find the legs of Jasmin Handanovic, after bursting into the box from the right-hand side. Daniele De Rossi was guilty of spurning several chances, including a wayward free header and the failure to make any sort of contact with Riccardo Montolivo's inch-perfect low cross.
Cesare Prandelli's men also had a credible penalty shout waved away midway through the first half, after Cassano expertly scooped the ball over the visitors' backline, with Thiago Motta through one-on-one, but the Inter man appeared to have been pulled down as he was about to pull the trigger.
However, it was not all plain-sailing for the hosts, as Slovenia's frequent long-range shooting posed a potential problem. Andraz Kirm and Robert Koren had the best opportunities with stinging attempts, but Gianluigi Buffon inspired confidence by being equal to each chance.
The match was thrust back into life in the second half after Italy were denied twice on the Slovenian goal-line, as De Rossi failed to force his header into the net.
Prandelli threw on Claudio Marchisio, Pazzini and Mario Balotelli and changed to a 4-3-3 system, in one last attempt to salvage the elusive goal to fire them to Poland and Ukraine next year.
Fortunately for the hosts, it came up trumps after Marchisio's floated ball into the box ricocheted off Balotelli at the far post, and Pazzini swiftly struck the ball with conviction to qualify Italy for Euro 2012 as winners of Group C.